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at the moment I'm running into strange issues with a mix I did for a non-budget project: I did the audio post (mixing, foley, finish) and everything worked as fine as possible (they had some issues with the sound, boom was sometime off-axis...) and the result is ok. When listening to it through speakers or my headphones in the studio everything is fine, but the crew told me when listening to it on several cellphones the dialog was muted, they were unable to hear it.

At first I didn't believe so I opened the file on my iPhone and had no problem with it, so I tried several other cellphones and still no issues. When I finally found an old Nokia and when playing the file the dialog is really, really hard to understand.

My first idea: phasing issue. I double checked the whole mix, listened to it mono but everything is fine. Next idea: maybe a strange filter effect of the cellphones speaker but this doesn't make sense, because it's just the voice that's muted.

As I already said: most of the cellphones I tested work fine, but the crew told me the ones tested by them very often failed and to be honest I have no idea why this happens - never had an issue like that before.

Ideas anyone?

  • Is it the entire mix that is low or just the dialog? Is there an abundance of low end that is overwhelming the smaller and older speakers? Did you mix it in a calibrated room or at least with the speakers at the correct level for your room? – coaxmw Mar 30 '14 at 20:38
  • It's just the dialog that's low. Mixing was done in a controlled and calibrated room with a pretty good speaker solution. After all the sound is not that fancy - they recorded with a solo boom-mic and what I did in post was cleaning it, making the dialog sound as good as possible and adding foley, atmospheres and music. Pretty usual frequency response, no phasing issues - no idea why this happens. – Marc Mar 31 '14 at 7:21
  • As takuya already stated give us more information. Also perhaps release a fragment for others to test on other gear/phones. – Arnoud Traa Apr 2 '14 at 14:08
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I know you said you checked the phase but it really sounds like a phase issue. Have you tried inverting just the dialogue track and exporting that to check? Or just exporting the dialogue on its own and playing that out on the phones.

How are you bouncing the final mix?

If software doesn't seem to be the problem than perhaps work backwards from the physical end. Your hardware may possibly be the source of your phase issues? Have you checked your cables and connections? I had a out of phase return cable to my mixer once and I never realised it until playing back in mono after many days of recording...

More details about your hardware and session setup would be needed to help thinker any bells I reckon.

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